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A Dissent On Reality (TV)

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Doesn't everyone want to get paid to do nothing on TV? Well yeah, but unfortunately, it only happens to the stupidest of people.

If you are four feet tall, your hair is half of your body mass and your skin is the color of an oompa-loompa, well, you can enjoy being the butt of everyone's jokes. Or if your last name happens to be Kardashian and your face is made out of a plastic mask, you can enjoy the fame. Meet the stars of reality TV.

Reality television has the ability to influence the minds of young people in a way that tabloids and the Internet cannot. By allowing teenage viewers to witness the "daily lives" of celebrities, we see a polished, fake world that influences our visions of beauty and conduct.

What these shows really do is idealize behaviors such as drinking and cat fighting. They create abominable role models for girls and boys by showing partying without consequences and convoluted relationships. Little do most viewers know that every catfight and hookup is staged, and no real drama ever happens in a perfectly timed 30-minute segment.

But what's worse than the sheer ludicrosity of this portrayal of society as a whole is the misrepresentation of young women. Only showing young women as fierce shoppers and alcoholics creates issues. It reveals a life that only few can live, emphasizing how wealth and fame makes everything picture perfect. It can even make you look like a Kardashian.

This emphasis reveals how we as a society view beauty. We see Kim and Khloe in their designer outfits and think, 'I want to be like her.' But no girl can really be like either of them. They are plastic replicas of some digital image that they applied to their face while undergoing injections and going under the knife, with an additional few pounds of pigment applied on their faces by a team of devoted make-up artists.

Further, the relationships shown on reality TV are based on alcohol and sex. Few characters in any reality TV show have a truly functional relationship. The Shore guys are so full of crap, there's not enough room in their brains to know how to attractively style their hair. The idea of 'Gym, Tan, Laundry' is just about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. I mean, don't these people have jobs? They completely objectify women, dubbing them 'grenades' yet still using them for sex. As we see behind the curtain of the male species, girls are led to believe that in order to be appreciated by a man, we must dress in scraps of clothing and flaunt our chests.

Additionally, on reality TV, stars are shown drinking and partying, enjoying the time of their lives without ramifications. Jersey Shore's notorious party habits send a message to young people -- who are their main demographic -- that reckless drinking is okay, and that nothing bad will happen if you go out and have some fun and do some stupid stuff. Their takeaway message reads, 'If they do it, anyone can.' This encourages binge drinking as well as underage drinking among teenagers. Most people don't know that Snooki wasn't 21 when the show premiered, forcing producers to blur out the alcohol labels on all of her drinks and pretend she was drinking apple juice.

Additionally, friendships on reality television are as fragile and twisted as on the stage of the fictitious Gossip Girl, but played out by real people. For example, following many of their alcohol-induced stupors, the Jersey Shore cast, namely the girls, ends up in some sort of shouting match. Oftentimes, hair-pulling ensues, with a lot of bleeping sparing us from their finite vocabulary. This disreputable behavior is seen by the same teenage girls who watch the starvation, and the drinking, and the hooking up, and for some reason, they learn that throwing a tantrum and cussing someone out is okay. How has reality TV evolved into a real-life soap opera no better than shows played with real actors?

These television shows influence our society -- especially teenage girls -- to a disturbing degree. The fake characters forced down our throats through consumer media dictate the image of the ideal woman and set a poor example for youth worldwide.